The story of a lead: Casey.

Meet Casey. 

Casey is… Well, Casey is a person, and they live in… a place. Everyone has to live somewhere, right? Casey has certain identifying characteristics—an age, a background, a personal history—you know, the common traits any human being would possess. And they probably have preferences, a personality, specific likes and dislikes… Probably. They definitely have a name, and that name is—you guessed it—Casey.

All right, the truth is we hardly know anything about Casey other than their name and their Twitter handle: Casey47474. The only reason we’re thinking about Casey is because they followed your business on Twitter the other day. And based on website traffic, we can guess that they also visited a few pages on your site around the same time.

Could Casey become your next customer or client? Sure, maybe. It’s hard to say. Like our last two leads, Amy and Bryan, Casey has shown some interest in your business, but they’re much higher up in the sales funnel. We don’t know what product or service they’re interested in, or if they’re really interested in anything at all right now. 

So, does Casey even count as a lead? Let’s break it down.

When is a lead a lead?

In the first part of this series, we defined a lead as a person or organization who might one day purchase a product or service from your business

We left that definition broad on purpose. Identifying, categorizing, and converting leads is far from an exact science. How you approach it is totally up to you.

Maybe you consider someone a lead once they’ve taken a predefined action—e.g. after they’ve emailed your business or engaged in a chat on your website, or after you’ve gotten them on the phone.

Or maybe you’re very particular about your leads because relatively few people or organizations who contact your business ultimately become buyers. This is often the case for a business with a small niche, a big brand, or both. Perhaps your organization has a wide reach, a massive audience, and/or a major presence in your market or region—but a comparatively tiny base of customers, clients, patients, or subscribers who actually pay for your products or services.

Or maybe you think of anyone and everyone as a lead. After all, isn’t a stranger just a buyer you haven’t converted yet?

The point is that a lead is a lead when you decide they’re a lead. It’s a matter of weighing your customer acquisition costs with your ROI, and taking initiative when it’s financially viable. You can—and if you want to build your customer base, you should—treat every interaction as an opportunity to build a relationship with someone who might one day support your business.

What’s your value proposition?

Now, we’re not suggesting that you reach out to every one of your contacts and social media followers and give them a hard sell. Doing so would likely waste your time and repel people, like Casey, who might otherwise be interested in your business if they didn’t feel so pressured at the outset.

However, there’s plenty you can do to attract Casey’s interest before that first sales conversation. Strategic, thoughtful marketing will draw Casey in and help them decide whether they might want to make a purchasing decision.

As with Amy and Bryan, it’s all about value. Consider what makes your solution valuable to different kinds of customers. In other words, think about your value propositions:

  • Do people need your product or service? 
  • Does your product or service save money?
  • Does it save time?
  • Does it improve business?
  • Does it keep people safe?
  • Does it make people happy?
  • Does it make the world a better place?

At this point, your goal is to get the answers to questions like these in front of Casey. If something resonates, pursue that campaign or line of messaging further. If something doesn’t land, try a different approach. 

The same goes for how you communicate with Casey. Consider using a multipronged approach—for instance, a mix of emails, ads, LinkedIn messages, and perhaps even a phone call if it makes sense for your business—but do it one piece at a time, so as not to overwhelm them, and switch it up if you’re not getting through.

Ideally, your approach will come through a channel relevant to Casey, center on one of Casey’s needs, and use that need (often called a pain point) to create awareness of your business.

Whoever Casey is, they’re a human being.

Always respect your leads. Respect their time and their autonomy. Remember: every sale is a relationship. You can’t start the relationship by bragging about how great you are and trying to force them to do what you want them to do. 

You need to nurture the relationship. First, get their attention so you can engage them. Then learn about them, listen to them, and then use what you learn to help them see how great you are, and why it makes the most sense to work with you. 

Finally, know when to move on. If it’s clear that Casey isn’t interested, stop messaging them. Spam is never an effective marketing or sales tactic. But, don’t just move on when you get tired of chasing Casey.  Instead, set a rule or deadline for yourself before you even start and build your process around that end-point. For instance, if Casey doesn’t take action after five emails, or five weeks, take them off your list. Reference previous messages with each new attempt, introducing a new value proposition each time.  When you reach the end of the process, let them know it is your last attempt.  A lead that has interest, but expects you to keep trying, might not prioritize responding to you.  However, if they know they have to call you or risk losing out on the value of working with you, they’re a lot more likely to take action!

Attracting leads: dos and don’ts.

Do:

  • Take initiative
  • Demonstrate value
  • Keep messages short and relevant
  • Test different messages
  • Use a multi-pronged approach
  • Focus on their needs
  • Listen, learn, and respect the individual
  • Have a process…  with a definitive end…  and communicate the end

Don’t:

  • Spam people
  • Pressure people into buying
  • Rush people through the process
  • Talk about everything at once
  • Use only one strategy
  • Focus only on your needs
  • Treat people like numbers

Your lead story is just beginning.

And there you have it—three leads, three stories, countless ways to engage, persuade, and embed value throughout the sales process. Amy, Bryan, and Casey are just a few examples of the kinds of prospective customers your business may encounter. 

In reality, every sales lead is unique—because every person is unique. Everyone is the main character in their own story. 

But everyone who interacts with your business, no matter who they are or where they are in the customer journey, deserves consistently excellent service. That means getting to know and understand them, one unique case at a time. It means building connections.

At Ruby, connections are what we do best. Thousands of small businesses across the United States trust Ruby to build connections with their customers and prospects, create positive first impressions, provide unforgettable experiences, and generate word-of-mouth. 

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